Why 2 Herries Road was on certificate

editorial image
Have your say

In reply to Glennis Radcliffe and Paul Kenny’s questions concerning the address of 2 Herries Road being given on a person’s death certificate that wasn’t the deceased’s usual place of residence.

Herries Road that runs up from Barnsley Road skirting the Northern General Hospital used to be called Smilter Lane before it was incorporated into Herries Road when it was built circa 1925.

There have probably never been any houses on the even numbered side of the road between Barnsley Road and Longley Avenue, only the hospital boundary wall.

The reason why this number (and other low numbers) is given on death certificate’s is because the event would have occurred in either Fir Vale Infirmary or the City General Hospital, which were developed from the Sheffield Union Workhouse that operated on the same site between c.1878 to 1930.

If the event took place in either of these places the doctor who certified the death would have written all the details on the document that the relatives of the deceased would have needed to take to the register office to show the registrar so he could issue them with a death certificate.

The doctor would have been sympathetic about how relatives may have felt about the places being a workhouse, so maybe after consultation with them gave the street name instead, rather than the hospital names, thus stopping the family being stigmatised about their relatives dying there, or having the hospitals’ names on the death certificate because some people still associated the hospitals with the workhouse.

The doctor must have known that there were no houses on Herries Road and Smilter Lane with the same numbers that he used and with these addresses being given by so many informants at the register office the registrar of deaths must surely have recognised the circumstances of why they were being used so often.

The address of number 2 (and other low numbers) Herries Road (and Smilter Lane on earlier certificates) depending on when the event took place, was still being given as place of death (and birth) on certificates long after the workhouse ceased operating.

Some registrations at least as late as 1955 still gave these addresses. If anyone has a certificate with a similarly named address to the above on it, there’s a fair chance the event took place in one of these places and not in a private house.

Syd Bullen